Ministers consider £500 energy bill payments for struggling households

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   (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Millions of struggling families could benefit from a £500 one-off energy bill relief payment - but households will have to wait until March to find out if the scheme is going ahead, a Government minister said on Friday.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering making direct payments of up to £500 to people struggling to pay their gas and electric bills as the cost of energy continues to soar.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the Government was "trying to work out the best way to deal with what is a really, really serious problem".

He told LBC: "There are lots of measures that people have talked about and ultimately, it's a matter for Rishi Sunak and his team at the Treasury.

"My officials speak to their officials and we're trying to get to some common solution."

Mr Kwarteng later told ITV that billpayers will have to wait until the Spring Statement in March to find out what extra support might be available.

The energy price cap which limits the rates a supplier can charge for their default tariffs is set to increase the same month.

Emma Pinchbeck, chief executive of Energy UK, the trade body for suppliers, has said bills could increase again in October after a predicted 50 per cent jump for millions of households in the spring.

The Social Market Foundation think tank has proposed cash payments of up to £500 would be the best answer to the cost-of-living crisis.

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